The Human Factor, a new film by Dror Moreh, Academy Award nominated director of The Gatekeepers, revisits three decades of an Israeli-Arab peace process from a unique perspective: that of the American mediators. Focusing intently on Clinton’s administration, it’s a beguiling documentary about the intently sad and upsetting situation on the Gaza strip and the inability to reach a deal.
Dror Moreh is a cinematographer and director, known for The Gatekeepers (2012), The Human Factor (2019) and Beitar Provence (2002). Clearly with a keen interest in Israeli issues, his focus has been spent here in recreating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a cinematic thriller. Similarly with 2012 Israeli security exposé The Gatekeepers, Moreh’s focus is on just six men, combined with archival footage and a thriller-evocative OST.
As peacemakers, they shuttled between Middle East capitals spending hours with the region’s political heavyweights, heads of state, generals, diplomats, dictators and freedom fighters, gaining intimate knowledge of the individuals and stories which dominated daily news around the world. They being Bill Clinton and the six that Moreh relies heavily upon.
For all those key figures – some working on the same issue for almost three decades – peace in the Middle East became a personal obsession, a mission which shaped their professional careers, affected their personal lives, and still occupies their minds. For the first time in film, these negotiators speak candidly about their experiences alongside never-before-seen, official White House photography that illustrate what really went on in rooms behind the scenes, away from the photo opportunities. It documents from when Bibi was in power to then Barack and then Bibi again, and where it all went wrong after the death of Rabin. Yaser Arafat being the stable factor in the whole process along with Clinton seemingly.
This documentary, presented in an entirely different style, intently focuses on achieving what is perceived often to be the unachievable, that deal to settle the conflict. With an optimism and ambition to reach an end to the conflict, this documentary unveils moments in history that are not commonly known, but highlights the things that went wrong in the deal making process. The US negotiators have a great deal to say about the process, and for that alone it is insightful but sadly doesn’t fill us with hope that this goal will ever be achieved, let alone anytime soon.
Moreh’s The Human Factor is intense and has you on the edge of your seat, though we all know the outcome. The style and cinematography encourage this, but it’s a difficult watch without looking for the slant or agenda with this film, with all that is currently going on along the Gaza strip at present. The key thing to spring from this documentary is about the three very different agendas from all countries and leaders, the US looking for peace which is not achievable considering the agendas of both Arafat and Barack. It’s worth a watch for this insight alone.